British customers in possession of Apple’s new iPhone struggles to connect to 5G network

British customers in possession of Apple's new iPhone struggles to connect to 5G network

Telecoms industry insiders have warned that the iPhone, which Apple is due on Tuesday, may not connect to the 700MHz 5G band.

British customers who purchase Apple’s new iPhone could struggle to connect to key parts of the country’s 5G network.

This could leave customers seeking for 5G coverage, analysts have warned.

“If it doesn’t support 700MHz then you end up with coverage problems,” said Matthew Howett, principal analyst at Assembly. “The spectrum bands that the iPhone works on are crucially important,” he added.

The launch of the new iPhone without support for 700MHz spectrum could hand a key advantage to Three, which has acquired large amounts of 5G spectrum. 

Analysts say this could lead to a similar scenario to the launch of 4G in 2012 when EE was the only telecoms operator with enough 4G coverage to reliably offer the latest iPhone 5 with 4G connectivity.

Lower spectrum bands such as 700MHz are used to extend the coverage of phone networks, allowing signals to reach more remote areas of the country and to extend far beyond antennas.

“The signals travel much further distances, they go through walls and buildings very well,” Mr Howett said. But the band is not well suited to improving capacity, meaning it struggles to support many people trying to download and upload data at the same time.

Simon Rockman, a journalist and 5G analyst, said the rollout of 700MHz 5G across the country will be “quite quick because networks really, really need it.”

Mr Rockman said the industry may ask about “missed opportunities” for Apple if it launches the new iPhone without 700MHz support.

The 700MHz spectrum band is scheduled to be auctioned by Ofcom early next year.

Apple is expected to announce four different models of the new iPhone in an online event held on the evening of 13th October.